Row by Row Episode 42: The Best Corn Varieties to Grow in a Vegetable Garden

Corn in the Vegetable Garden

As part of the Poaceae family, Corn has been a staple crop from generation to generation. Pollinated by wind, corn is a heavy feeder and needs lots of space, water, and fertilizer to grow good during the warm season. When growing corn it prefers to grow in well-drained soil that has a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Depending on the heat temperature and varieties of corn it can take anywhere from 60 to 100 days to harvest in the garden.

Sweet Corn Categories and Varieties

On this week’s episode, the guys talk about different corn varieties for sweet and field corn. They begin by discussing the different types of sweet corn which are indicated by the genes present. There are three main sweet corn categories based on the genes they have which are su (standard), se (sugary extender) and sh2 (supersweet). There are also varieties with combinations of these genes, which is the case with the Honey Select variety. The su, or standard, varieties include those older cultivars such as Silver Queen, Silver King and Stowell’s Evergreen. These varieties have more starch and less sugar as compared to the se and sh2 varieties. The se, or sugary extender, varieties include cultivars such as Ambrosia, Peaches and Cream and Incredible. The sh2, or supersweet, varieties have the highest sugar content and store the longest, but are the most finicky when it comes to germination and planting depth. Greg recommends that beginner gardeners go with one of the su varieties, but that he has grown many of the se varieties in the last few years with great success. They also talk about their field corn varieties which include Jimmy Red, Blue Hopi, Truckers Favorite and Hickory King — all of which are great for grinding into corn meal and grits. Greg is feeling generous today and gives away some South American Popcorn seed to the first 10 viewers that send us an email.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, the guys sample a couple of beets from Travis’ garden. Travis mentions that a customer recently asked him about the taste difference between red and golden beets. To help answer the question, he brought a Merlin beet and a Touchstone Gold beet from his vegetable garden. After sampling, the guys both agreed that the Merlin beet has a sweeter flavor and higher sugar content, but that they are both delicious and fun to grow. Greg has lots growing in the garden right now. He has kohlrabi, tiger collards, English peas, onions, and shallots all growing really good in the vegetable garden this season. Greg and Travis also hope to get some of there potatoes in the garden this weekend since potato planting season is right around the corner.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about pickling okra and planting asparagus or strawberries in their garden. Greg brought a book called “The Pickled Pantry” and agrees to send it to the viewer who asked the question. He mentions that the book contains several great pickled okra recipes that he’s tried that have had great success. He has liked one of the sweet and one of the spicy recipes in the book. Travis explains that they have several beds of asparagus growing behind the warehouse for a long time. They guys also have a couple of asparagus growing videos on their YouTube Channel. Greg has been doing some research on strawberries so maybe we will add those to our seed lineup in the near future.

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